BARTA is another step closer to merging with its transit counterpart in Lancaster County.

The Red Rose Transit Authority voted unanimously Thursday night in favor of pursuing the merger with the Berks Area Regional Transportation Authority.

BARTA's board of directors approved moving forward earlier this week.

"It's a great opportunity, a historic opportunity for two counties to come together and really see how streamlining and becoming more efficient really does work," Berks County Commissioner Kevin Barnhardt, who also serves as BARTA's board chairman, said Monday. "People want government to be more efficient, more cost effective. Here's an opportunity staring us in the face and I think we have to take it."

The next step, officials said, is to work out all of the legal and logistical details. They hope to have the merger complete by the end of the year.

The two transit authorities have shared management services since October 2013, after BARTA's longtime director, Dennis Louwerse, died the month before.